Friday, December 12, 2008

The Immorality of Debt

On the day after Congress rejected a bailout for the automakers, I am wondering how the next few years will play out in North America. I'm glad they said "no"; we are all taking our medicine now. Let 'em fail... but millions and millions will be out of work soon.

So, I'm convinced now that things will get very bad for many people. The reason? Because we have all been misled about the morality of money.
  • Banks and hedge funds playing the "leverage game", finding new ways to keep up the facade while selling marginal loans to other companies and countries, are immoral.
  • Banking giants who charge high interest rates to high risk customers are doing something that is immoral.
  • Mortgage lenders who promised money to people who could not pay when the rates adjusted were immoral.
  • Families who spend more money on credit card debt than widows, orphans, and even their own children, are immoral (My own included).
  • Companies that worked their people into the ground for minimum wage while they paid their executives outrageous salaries are immoral
  • Churches that went into massive debt to purchase large buildings and fancy sound systems instead of caring for more poor and needy... are the most immoral. They had a book that warned them. They should have known better.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Atheist Sign Mystery in Olympia

There are just so many things wrong with this entire story. Olympia, Washington has a Christmas display that includes not only a Nativity scene... but now a large sign promoting Atheism. Well, actually the sign is now missing because some radical, fundamentalist, anti-atheism strongman probably stole it! It weighed 50lbs so the church lady did not do it.

Here is a short list of problems to consider:

  1. Shouldn't the real Christians in Washington State help the Atheists find the sign or setup a new one? I mean, that is what Jesus would do, right? Honestly now.. I'm not kidding. Can you really imagine Jesus sneaking up the Capitol lawn at 3am to steal a sign that ruins His image? Ridiculous. But I could see him walking with the atheists, talking with the atheists, until they find the sign. But by then they would'nt want to put up the sign anymore.
  2. Atheism, by definition, is the absence of religion. So they really cannot claim things like equal access, equal time, or freedom of religion. If I were an atheist, this little stunt would make no sense to me.
  3. Who really cares about a stupid sign that promotes an anti-god world view? According to the story, 7% of Washingtonians believe there is no God. Since when did anyone in the US care about what 7% of the people thought?
  4. What if the radio station was somehow in on this? As a longtime marketer, I can't think of a better ratings boost than "Hey, what do ya know... someone just dropped that Atheism sign off at our front door... weird!" Yeah right!'
  5. Are the state police really going to investigate this? I'd bet money that if you got your car broken into in Olympia, they wouldn't have the police resources to take fingerprints and find the bad guy. They just tell you to call your insurance agent. Why can't they say the same thing to the Atheists?
That's it for now. Enjoy the story.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Path of Less Anxiety

I can't help but believe that something's wrong with our national mood and anxiety over job losses and the economic crisis in the US. When I see and read the news about people being killed in Nigeria for their faith, women and children dying of cholera in Zimbabwe, and the tidal wave of Aids orphans in Africa, I am perplexed about which way to move.

Frankly, I'm not sure what to do. For the sake of my spirit, my heart, it really is easier to just worry about local stores and businesses closing down. And God forbid, but our unemployment rate could hit 10%.

Instead of being concerned about entire villages being burned to the ground, instead of worrying about how child soldiers are recruited and brutalized and taught to brutalize... it's so much easier to fret about a foreclosure, a bankruptcy, or having to move in with our parents someday because a job was outsourced.

To add a final punch, see this brief quote on Hamilton's poetic site.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nelscott Tow Surfing Contest Gets Some Vineyard Talent

Today's big wave contest off the Oregon Coast featured some of the best tow surfers in the world. Tow teams from Ireland, Brazil, Hawaii, and California converged on our little city and the conditions where perfect. The Nelscott Reef Tow Surfing Classic for 2008 was held under sunny skies and 20 - 30 foot waves peeling about 1/2 mile off the coast of Lincoln City.

(picture courtesy

Vineyard church members and local Oregon surfers Jeremy Rasmussen and Tom Miller (Sr. Pastor) surprised almost everyone with an 8th place showing. An amazing feat when considering they were competing against some of the more famous tow surfers in the world.

For complete contest information, results, and photos visit the contest site here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

TV and Violence and Kids

I've been home for over 3 weeks now nursing a broken leg. So I've moved from the bed to the couch to the other couch and back to the bed for longer than I care to remember. I've also been watching more TV than I have in probably 20 years. What is shocking to me is how many programs feature sexual violence against women and children. I'm amazed at the writers and producers of CSI, NCIS, Law and Order, Crossing Jourdan, and all the other weekly crime dramas that feel like they need to graphically show this stuff. They're not showing this after 9pm anymore.... it's on all day now. Trust me.

Now, I've become wise to the redundant themes. So I do turn the channel when the plot starts to telegraph its intent show another slain naked body. But they're not stupid. They must be writing and filming these stories because they think that is what most Americans want... right?

According to this study, by the time the average kid in the US finishes elementary school, they've seen 8,000 violent murders on TV. So, that gives us another angle on the 8 year old murderer story in the news. Honestly, why is everyone is so shocked?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Church Promotes Everyday Sex for 7 Days

I found this video interview on CNN. The church of 20,000 people is suggesting that married couples should have sex once a day for 7 days starting this Sunday. I was just a bit confused about two things:
  1. Why wait until this coming Sunday? Cant they start now?
  2. Why is the CNN anchorwoman so uptight? Seems to me that she could use a little of that medicine herself.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Painfully Blogging Again - Writing and Posting 2.0

I'm sitting home nursing a badly broken left leg. I cannot travel for work or surf or play on my dirt bike because, well, I broke my leg in 5 places doing just that. So I have another 6 weeks before I can even apply weight to the leg and that, my friend, provides ample time to write and work and talk on the phone. And also try blogging again.

The image above (taken from a medical site and not my real x-ray) is almost identical to what my x-ray looked like... only my leg also has a small plate on the smaller Fibula bone on the right with another 3 screws.

I'm finding the time now to regret that I deleted a blog that I had faithfully kept up for about 3 years. It was called AdventureFaith, a place where I posted much of my draft and published writings for the world to see. I deleted it because I was kind of tired of the subtle expectations to keep it fresh and I was not 100% sure I wanted anyone and everyone to have full access to my thoughts and writings.

Deleting it was liberating. I reminded me of the time I hucked a journal out the window of my car while driving 70 MPH down the I-5 freeway in Washington State. I was reading through the journal and thought "this is full of whining and complaining and thoughts that really don't matter any more to me"... then I just tossed it. That felt pretty good too. I only hope someone didn't pick it up and find a way to connect the evidence to me. That would suck.

Anyway, I'm starting another blog now because I have more writing to do and I'll need feedback from trusted blogging friends to make the writing good and meaningful to people besides myself. I have a new article coming out in Christianity Today this February entitled "Modern Radicalism". I have another piece coming out soon in Stand Firm magazine and I'm just now starting an article for Neue Quarterly on the challenges for new leadership development.

So... stay with me. I'm hopeful this 2.0 attempt at blogging will be worth keeping around.